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The Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal

Musée des Hospitalières

L'Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal

Musée des Hospitalières

The mission of  the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal is to transmit the history of Montreal and its foundation, to publicize the history of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, to exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, and to explore the history of healthcare and the health sciences.

Four centuries of history can be traced through the museum’s fascinating collection, which is linked to the development of Montreal, to hospital, medical and pharmaceutical practices, and to religious art.

Located within Mount Royal’s protected area, in a delightful natural setting, the museum is part of one of the city’s best preserved convent complexes, home to the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph. The ensemble, built in 1861 to plans by the architect Victor Bourgeau, includes the order’s original monastery and garden, the hospital, three chapels, a crypt and the museum itself, housed in the former chaplains’ residence.

Key Work

Women’s ward

This painting, an interior view of the women’s ward of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital during the 18th century, shows a couple of Hospitallers performing their duties.

“In the fulfilment of the vow they have made to serve the poor, the Sisters shall not rely on others … They shall not fail, save for the most serious reason, to make their attendance on the ward at the required time, and in the prescribed order … On entering the wards in the morning, the Sisters will observe the prescriptions of the constitution before serving breakfast, making the beds, emptying the chamber pots and spittoons, sweeping the wards.” (Regulations of the Hospitallers of Saint Joseph, 1872)

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    Patients on the gallery balcony, about 1906

    RHSJM Archives